Government postpones vote to approve rehabilitation plan for northern towns battered by Hezbollah attacks

A damaged home following a rocket attack in the northern city of Kiryat Shmona, May 5, 2024. (David Cohen/Flash90)
A damaged home following a rocket attack in the northern city of Kiryat Shmona, May 5, 2024. (David Cohen/Flash90)

The government has postponed an expected vote to approve a rehabilitation plan for northern communities battered by Hezbollah rocket and drone attacks.

The $3.5 billion program has encountered criticism from ministers who do not view it as accounting for the needs on the ground.

Agriculture Minister Avi Dichter tells the Ynet news site that funds were allocated for projects that were unnecessary or had already been accounted for and also complained that he was not part of the panel of ministers managing the emergency efforts.

Giving an example, Dichter said no funds were allocated to rehabilitating draining infrastructure destroyed by the military’s activities, while millions of shekels were allocated to clearing chicken coops, despite funds already having been earmarked for that project.

He also says millions were allocated to encourage Israelis to volunteer in areas targeted by Hezbollah, instead of employing foreign workers.

“They will involve the agriculture minister if they want or not. Agriculture is the lifeblood of the area of the evacuated communities and must be part of the response. How is it that the agriculture minister is not part of this committee, it’s ridiculous. There’s no other words to describe it,” he says.

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